Parker, Neal help Spurs hold off ThunderBy PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011
SAN ANTONIO (AP)—On a night when even-tempered Tim Duncan(notes) and mild-mannered Kevin Durant(notes) received technicals for getting mixed up in a shoving match, the San Antonio Spurs won thanks to what turned out to another rare sight.
A second-chance basket against Oklahoma City.
Tony Parker(notes) hit San Antonio’s only one in the game with 26.1 seconds left, sinking a 16-footer with the shot clock ticking down after Manu Ginobili’s(notes) wild layup attempt missed the rim entirely, pushing the Spurs past the Thunder 109-105 in a physical meeting Wednesday night.
“Nobody told me it was playoff time. It was super physical,” said Parker, who finished with 20 points.
“We got some good looks, man, that we normally hit,” Durant said.
Parker’s final jumper were the only second-chance points in the entire game for the Spurs. It came after Ginobili’s circus shot, twisting under the basket, that missed the rim entirely before the ball bounced its way to Parker.
He dribbled back a couple steps and, with the shot-clock winding down, coolly hit the open look to hamper the Thunder’s hopes of beating the Spurs for the first time in six tries.
Then again, few are beating the Spurs this season.
They returned from the All-Star break with their first home game in more than month, having gone 6-3 during their annual Rodeo Road Trip that kept them out of San Antonio the last three weeks. The Spurs will play two more at home before returning to the road, including Friday against New Jersey in what might be Deron Williams’(notes) debut with the Nets.
Parker crashed to the floor as Collison tried denying a layup. Parker leapt to his feet upset, and Duncan and Durant both arrived late to the exchange of shoves and words.
Both appeared to plead to officials they were trying to diffuse the situation, while Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Thunder coach Scott Brooks shared a laugh nearby after the technicals were announced.
Brooks said he didn’t see a replay of the foul. But he liked how his team responded.
Oklahoma City ended the second quarter on a 17-2 run.
“That did change the intensity of the game,” Brooks said. “Both teams stepped up. They stepped up right after that and we stepped up after that. I love playing physical basketball. I love when we display toughness. That’s what this game is about. The tougher we get, the better we will become. Our guys understand that.”
Later in the first half, Neal appeared to get his right cheek cut from an inadvertent elbow from James Harden(notes). Moments later, Neal fell hard to the baseline when Harden challenged a breakaway layup, and Neal left for the locker room.
The rookie returned with a bandage over his cheek and a hot hand, hitting two 3-pointers.
“I always feel like I have to prove myself,” Neal said. “Whether we’re up 20, down 20 or it’s a close game.”